Event review: RPA & AI Live 2018

Ian Hawkins

Yesterday marked the end of the RPA and Ai Live 2018 event – 7 webinars covering the practicalities of incorporating RPA and AI technology into your organization.  

We were joined by delegates from all over the world: from our base in London, we had speakers in four different time zones, with audience figures significantly up on last year’s inaugural event – chipping in with questions to keep the debate going, and putting the experts through their paces.

If you missed the live event, don’t panic: you can catch up with the recordings and listen on demand wherever there’s an internet connection. As the presenter, I got a ringside seat, and here’s my (intensely biased) recap of what we talked about.

Why Companies Go into RPA; and Why They Are Wrong
Guy Kirkwood

The event got off to a great start with Guy Kirkwood – thought by some to be controversial, considered by many to be simply telling home truths. ‘I have a severe problem with the word “robots”,’ he began before considering the KPMG findings that 81% of Fortune 1000 companies are planning to increase their RPA investment. His argument – that RPA won’t decrease headcount and will in fact be a job creator, falls into his line that the ‘value of human capital is much higher than [clients] thought it would be. We see it time after time after time.’

Guy also predicted that AI will be like the water supply – just a part of the infrastructure of business – and that digital transformation is not a technology issue; it’s a cultural issue.

View on demand here.

Leveraging AI & RPA to Shine a Light on Dark Data
Manish Rai

Manish followed up after Guy with a look at how AI is delving into dark data – and bringing it to the surface. As these are still comparatively early days for dark (or unstructured) data, Manish says it’s important that there is still a human check on findings. The Automation Anywhere robots have covered Latin languages and are now learning Japanese… one audience member asked if it was likely to be learning Turkish. Watch this space..!

View on demand here.

Accelerating Automation Initiatives with Digital Labour 
Dennis Parrot and Jeff Goodhue

Dennis started his session with the often-quoted statistic from McKinsey that 30% of all work can be automated – and noted that automation makes workers more productive. Sure enough, given poll options to narrow down what areas of their business would be feeling the touch of RPA, the audience repeatedly answered ‘all of the above’.

Dennis gave a great example of how an app gave him a fast and easy way to re-book a cancelled flight before many of the other passengers were even aware there was a cancellation – showing complex event processing in action, and delivered on a convenient platform.

Jeff Goodhue ran through a demonstration that included capturing and structuring data into a system and then exporting the information, using an invoice as an example.

Any robot that is prepared to do invoicing and expenses is going to be popular…

View on demand here.

Integrating RPA & AI to Deliver Transformative Business Application
Prittam Bagani

Prittam introduced us to game changing applications with a presentation incorporating some impressive case studies. Prittam says that ‘Technology is fuelling disruptions such as Air B&B and Uber. In order to excel, most companies will have to behave like software companies, he said, ‘and every business process can be transformed with technology.’

For Aviva, the aforementioned case study, the results of working with Appian have been clear: a 40% cost reduction, customers served nine times faster and the reduction of 22 different systems now seamlessly integrated into a single interface: a business solution that pleases the customer, the staff and the financial department.

View on demand here.

Siemens’ fast lane to RPA success with Celonis
Anthony Deighton

Anthony’s poll question found that the majority of the live audience were mostly evaluating their options (62%) before kicking off a pilot or fully implementing RPA. ‘From the CEO to entry level in the mail room,. Every job has potential for automation,’ he said, setting the scene. ‘There is an opportunity to take out the low value tasks. What part of your job could be automated?’

Over the next 45 minutes, Anthony looked at Elon Musk’s failed attempt to fully automate a factory (‘humans are under rated,’ says Musk), explored process mining a an evaluation tool for RPA, and examined how to reduce the number of manual; steps in Siemens’ highly complex value chain.

View on demand here.

Building your Automation Centre of Excellence
Aaron Gammon

The ‘Centre of Excellence’ has been a recurring theme running through the event with questions popping up on the subject through the other sessions. Aaron tackled the topic head on: ‘You need champions who will be evangelists for the technology.’

Aaron also introduced the idea of ‘self healing networks’ that can resolve their own problems – further reducing the need for humans to get involved with processes.

In our wide ranging discussion after the presentation, we talked about flying cars, part-time CEOs and cyber security – demonstrating that technological change is driving cultural transformation.

View on demand here.

Maximize ROI of your RPA with Process Mining
Richard Lipovsky

Richard says that the adoption of RPA is happening fast – but suggested that we go into the future with realistic expectations: ROI is an art rather than a science, there is no end-to-end automation, and it is not a silver bullet for reducing headcount.

Richard encourages people to share experience (which counts for a lot), warned about automating the wrong process (or automating the right process in the wrong way) and – perhaps most important of all – don’t automate what can be optimized.

View on demand here.

What are your thoughts? Who was your favourite speaker? What could we improve? We love reading your feedback, so drop me a line ian@pexnetwork.com and I’ll throw all of your suggestions into the mix for next year’s event.  

You’re free to contact any of the speakers directly with follow-up questions or queries (tell them you saw them on RPA Live) – and of course you’re very welcome to connect with me on LinkedIn to give feedback and continue the conversation.